It has been narrated on the authority of Hasan that `A'idh ibn `Amr who was one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) called on `Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad and said (to him): O my son, I have heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: “The worst of guardians is the cruel ruler.” Beware of being one of them. Ubaidullah said (to him out of arrogance): Sit you down. You are from the chaff of the Companions of Muhammad (may peace be upon him). `A'idh said: Was there worthless chaff among them? Such worthless chaff appeared after them and among other people. (1)
Vocabularies of the Hadith (2):
(Guardians): The single form is guardian and the meaning here is: emirs.
(The cruel ruler) is the greedy who is stone-hearted.
(The chaff): a metaphor means the mean people.
Explanation of the Hadith:
An-Nawawy (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) said: (You are from the chaff of the Companions) means: you are not one of their best, their scholars, or the people of high rank, but you are a lower rank.
(Was there worthless chaff among them? Such worthless chaff appeared after them and among other people.) These words are strong, eloquent, and truthful which each Muslim admits because the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) are the best of people and the masters of this nation. Indeed, they are better than those who came after them because all of them are trustworthy, good examples, and they had no chaff among them. As for those who came after them, they are not examples to follow but some of them are chaff.
(The worst of guardians is the cruel ruler) scholars said: He is the harsh ruler who does not show mercy to them, but make his people gather in crowds to harm and destroy them. (3)
The example that was mentioned in the Hadith:
This is one of the Prophet's example which he gave as an example to evil rulers where he compared the ruler to a shepherd who breaks wood (for his sheep). (4)
(1) Sahih Muslim, No. (1830).
(2) See: The commentary of Sahih Muslim by An-Nawawy, (the fourth volume), 12/ 216.
(3) See: The commentary of Sahih Muslim by An-Nawawy, (the fourth volume), 12/ 216.
(4) See: The commentary of Sahih Muslim by An-Nawawy, (the fourth volume), 12/ 216, and Faydul-Qadir 2/454.